Pancakes in Paris
Sometimes you just can't beat pancakes with maple syrup. Not with croissants, pains au chocolat or even macarons. When the urge for classic American diner food hits in Paris, we've discovered our go-to spot: Breakfast in America. With two locations (one in the Latin Quarter, one in the Marais), BIA serves up 100% authentic diner fare in a setting that feels like you've been magically transported to the States. From the smell of frying bacon and shiny red seats to the neon signs and 50's style counter, BIA feels so middle America, it's almost eerie.
The place gave me a great feeling of "home," something I hadn't fully realized I was missing. Maybe because almost a year has passed since our last visit to the States, maybe Father's Day had me feeling nostalgic. Mostly I just need to see my sisters really really soon. Sniff.
And that's the thing about living abroad: Very little about expat life is easy.
Interesting? Absolutely, but simple, no. Everyday errands and routine tasks -- from signing the kids up for activities to scheduling doctor's appointments -- require extra effort. And the language difference is only part of it. The challenges come in more subtle -- and often unexpected -- guises, like realizing I have to pay the shoe repair guy (and the dry cleaner) when I drop off my items, not when I pick them up. Or that my new checkbook has arrived at the bank but they won't just drop it in the mail; I have to physically go in and sign for it.
They're small things for sure, but can add up to big differences. And while these challenges can be annoying at times, they're also part of what makes living here rewarding. Even the smallest successes (like a happy exchange with the cranky boulangere or a familiar à bientôt from the corner grocer) can feel like big victories. And then there are the bigger moments, like having a great conversation with a French friend without once worrying if I flubbed my verb tenses.
Maybe it's because I've always liked a good challenge. Or because I get bored pretty easily. Probably both. But living here -- even when it's tough -- reminds me everyday that life can be magical. Kinda like a stack of pancakes with extra maple syrup.